The Next Decade of Business and Human Rights hero image

The Next Decade of Business and Human Rights

Tuesday June 22, 2021

This June 2021, we mark the 10th anniversary of the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights (UNGPs)

For 25 years, BSR has been at the forefront of helping companies turn human rights principles into practice, undertaking over 150 human rights assessments across all industries. And we have seen tremendous progress over the past decade as we have worked with business to align their policies and practices with the UNGPs.

UNGC cover report

As we enter the Decisive Decade, where the public and private sectors alike must act with urgency to achieve the SDGs and the Paris Agreement targets, we also see an opportunity to strengthen respect for and protection of human rights.

Throughout 2021, to mark the 10th anniversary of the UNGPs, BSR is reflecting on what additional action business can take to shape a rights-respecting future.

In the coming months, we will publish deep dives into two emerging issues and four evolving approaches that will shape the next decade of business and human rights.

Evolving Approaches

  • Shared Opportunity to Promote Human Rights
  • Downstream Human Rights Due Diligence
  • Access to Remedy
  • Human Rights Assessment

Emerging Issues

  • Climate Change and Human Rights
  • Business in High-Risk Contexts

In a world facing increased climate impacts, rapidly changing technologies, and shifting geopolitics, resilient business strategies are critical to business success. By embedding human rights approaches across business and supply chain operations, companies can not only build resilience but help to create a more just, sustainable world.

Explore these topics below.

The Shared Opportunity to Promote Human Rights

The absence of action to promote human rights presents severe risks to their fulfillment. This paper draws upon BSR experience over the past decade to propose a framework for the shared promotion of human rights.

Arrow pointing to the right

Human Rights Due Diligence of Products and Services

We can see and feel the human rights impacts of products and services. This issue brief explains downstream human rights due diligence, why it’s important, coming advancements, and how to get started.

Arrow pointing to the right

Access to Remedy

After 10 years of implementing the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGP), companies are increasingly expected to address the harms they have caused or contributed to through their business relationships. This brief explains what effective remedy is, the role of business, and five recommendations for companies to improve access.

Arrow pointing to the right

Climate Change and Human Rights

This report explores the intersection between climate and human rights and makes recommendations on taking first steps to create long-term, resilient business strategies that address human rights impacts related to physical climate impacts as well as the transition to a low carbon economy.

Arrow pointing to the right

Business in Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Contexts

Complex interplay of social, political, environmental, and economic factors fosters an environment where violence, oppression, poverty, human rights abuses, and state failure are more likely to occur. Businesses that integrate human rights management into strategic decision-making and day-to-day operations will be more resilient to today’s global challenges11 while addressing some of the social, economic, and environmental drivers of conflict.

Arrow pointing to the right

Human Rights Assessments: Identifying Risks, Informing Strategy

According to the UNGPs, companies should identify and assess any actual or potential adverse human rights impacts to gauge human rights risks. BSR shares its human rights assessment methodology to help with this important first step of human rights due diligence.

Arrow pointing to the right